Google is widely known as world’s best search engine and recently, the tech giant decided to go all in and provide its fan-base with a smartphone too. You know that Android is yet another Google product, so Google now has a search engine, world’s best, a mobile OS, world’s best and…a new couple of smartphones.
Thing is, Google released two Pixels, but today we’ll talk about the bigger one, the XL version. The vanilla one is called simply Pixel and I’ll write about it in a future article.
Google’s Pixel is the answer to Samsung’s Galaxy line, but the Pixel line is more like Apple’s iPhone so to speak, i.e. both smartphones are high-end devices. Unlike the already nixed Nexus line, which offered an awesome Android experience whilst playing in the best bang for the buck category, the Pixels are hefty pieces of gear, just like iPhones.
Another truth is that the Pixel moniker was first used in a Chromebook and later on an Android running tablet, but now…well, that’s the way of the world. In this writer’s opinion, Nexus was the best moniker for an Android running device, coming directly from a legendary SF novel, Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, or Blade Runner.
Pixel doesn’t inspire much thought, but that’s none of my business. Getting back to our review, what’s up with the Google Pixel XL after all?
Well, to begin with, this droid comes at a hefty price tag and it’s as premium as it gets, both in terms of hardware and craftsmanship.
Software (read Android) is Google’s play-ground, but hardware…well, that’s a novelty for the company. Will they be capable to flex their muscles considering the competition from Apple and Samsung?
That will be for the market to decide, but I must tell you that the Pixel XL is the most expensive Google smartphone to date. The chassis is built from aerospace grade aluminum alloy, which is all the rage nowadays. Also, there’s a weird glass window on the rear panel, whilst the smartphone offers IP53 certification, which means dust/splash resistance (not proof).
The display is a 5.5 inches wide AMOLED variety of QHD resolution, with an impressive 534 pixels per inch density, featuring 2.5 D/Gorilla Glass 4 protection and 100% NTSC.
The whole show is powered by a Quad Core Kryo system on chip, helped along by an Adreno 530 GPU and 4 GB of RAM. The SoC is Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 821, meaning that the Pixel XL will be able to run all the games and apps smoothly and without effort.
Obviously, the Pixel XL comes preloaded with the last Android, the 7.1 Nougat respectively and it offers 2 years of OS upgrades from its original launching date, along with 3 years of security updates. The main camera is a 12.3 megapixels variety, with an f/2.0 aperture lens. 1.5 µm pixels, dual LED, laser/phase auto-focus, 2160p/1080p video recording capabilities at up to 120 frames per second.
The native storage is 32 GB or 128 GB, non-expandable unfortunately, whilst the secondary selfie camera has a resolution of 8 MP.
The XL is fingerprint ready, it boasts Android Pay, LTE Cat 9/11, NFC, GLONASS, GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, USB Type C and a fast charging 3450 mAh battery.
Now, the question is, why would you buy it after all, considering that it costs $800? Well, to begin with, the smartphone is built actually by HTC. The camera is among the best on the market, you’ll get 2 years of guaranteed updates directly from Google, it’s the best droid currently on the market without a doubt, the build quality is awesome though the aesthetics are a mixed bag, the display is very good but not the best AMOLED out there, the battery life is decent but it could have been better, the Photos app is stellar, it has the best digital assistant on the market, the QSD 821 is very fast but on par with older flagships running on the 820, the selfie snapper is amazing, the main camera features HDR+ which makes it the best out there, the video quality is superb. Oh, and there’s no dual-camera setup, which kind of sucks.
Now, it’s up to you to decide.